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  1. Default San Fran-Santa Barbara-Death Valley-Vegas

    April '09. 2 days to travel between SFO and Vegas.

    Hi all,

    I've been through the threads and got some really good tips but would really like some views on the following trip:

    Day One - Leave SFO
    Drive down to Santa Barbara with some wine tasting in the afternoon
    Overnight stay in Santa Barbara

    Day Two - Leave Santa Barbara
    Drive to Vegas via Death Valley.

    I'd appreciate any views on:

    best road between SFO and Santa Barbara
    best place for wine tasting
    best place to stay in Santa Barbara
    best route between Santa Barbara and Vegas via death valley

    Any other tips, ideas, suggestions........this is our first time to California so keen to get a real feel for things.

    Thanks for your help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Default

    The best road from SF to SB is CA-1, the coast road. However, this is really a 2 day drive. If you only have 1 day, take US-101 all the way. It's about 340 miles, freeway and near-freeway quality all the way, figure 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 hours depending on traffic. You will be missing spectacular coast scenery.

    SB to LV via Death Valley is close to 500 miles. Doable in a day, but it won't leave you much time to do anything in Death Valley except blow through, just the drive will probably be at least 10 hours. Route is 101 to 126 to I-5, Magic Mountain Pkwy, Valencia Blvd and Soledad Canyon Rd to 14, (or just go down I-5 to 14) to 395 to 190 through the park. On the other side, State Line Rd to Pahrump and 160 into LV.

    Are you sure you can't make this a 4 day trip?

  3. Default

    Thanks for your quick reply glc.

    I guess we could look to make it a 3 day trip - we are spending 4 days in SFO at the start so could cut that down by a day. Is 3 days enough for SFO?

    If we were to add a day where would you recommend adding this - the ride to Santa B or the trip through death valley?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Default

    It all depends what you want to see the most - the coast or DV. If you plan on wine tasting in SB in the afternoon, you can't take the coast road with only 1 day. You will miss out on Santa Cruz, Monterrey/Carmel, Big Sur, and the Hearst Castle. You can still go *through* DV on a 1 day drive, you would have to leave SB at the crack of dawn and possibly rush through the park to get out before dark. You wouldn't have much time to take any side trips in the park to see anything but what you see from the car windows driving down 190. It's no big deal driving from the east gate through Pahrump to LV after dark though.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
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    Default Death Valley day trip ?

    Hello and welcome to the R.T.A. forums.

    Depending on how long your stay in Vegas is, and if you still have use of a car while there, then it would be possible to do a day trip to Death Valley from Vegas and enjoy the coast road. Here are some suggestions for Days out from Vegas.

    While in San Fran I would reccommend taking a visit to Alcatraz. It's possible [advisable] to Book your boat tickets through the N.P.S, the only official site selling them, if it appeals to you. Be sure to check out Pier '39 it's got a great atmosphere with lots of places to eat.

  6. #6
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    SB-LV is 350 miles by the most direct highways - a 6 hour drive - if you choose to make DV a day trip out of LV later. Take the same route to 14, then pick up 138 in Palmdale, take that and 18 to Victorville and pick up I-15 to LV.

  7. Default

    Thanks, this is really helpful.

    To turn things totally on its head, what do you think about taking a different route and heading east of sfo, taking the southern road past yosemite and then down through DV to vegas rather than the wine tasting and Santa Barbara?

    My main concern with that is the time of year. Is the accesible southern road in yosemite worth consideration over the coast run down to SB and across?

  8. #8
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    That would be a worthwhile 2 day trip. By then, everything should be open except Tioga Pass and Glacier Point.

  9. Default

    To free some additional time to explore the coastline, we could knock Santa Barbara wine tasting on the head and take a day trip up to Napa from SFO instead.

    Are we likely to have as good an experience in napa as around SB? I am a bit worried that the number of people around napa may impact this. What do you think?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Sorry about that - read the next post!
    Last edited by glc; 01-16-2009 at 11:18 PM.

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